By Jeff Mason
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar both expressed support for a UK-EU deal on post-Brexit trade rules as the two leaders met at the White House on Friday.
The leaders spoke briefly to reporters at the start of their meeting in the Oval Office, where Biden reaffirmed his ongoing support for the Good Friday Agreement, which largely brought an end to political violence in Northern Ireland 25 years ago.
Biden earlier this week said he intended to visit the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland around the anniversary of the agreement next month.
London and Brussels reached a deal last month that seeks to resolve the tensions caused by the Northern Ireland protocol that set trade rules in the aftermath of Britain’s departure from the European Union.
Biden said he had spoken with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who struck the deal known as Windsor Framework, during a meeting in California.
“I very much, very strongly supported the Windsor Framework, which I know you do too,” Biden said.
Varadkar thanked the United States for its support for Ireland’s position on Brexit.
“(It) really made a difference, and we’ve got to a good place now I think with the framework where we can have an agreement which lasts, which is important for Northern Ireland and also important for British-Irish and -European relations,” Varadkar said.
Biden said he wanted to discuss deepening economic ties with the Irish leader and thanked Varadkar for standing with the United States in supporting Ukraine in its war against Russia.
“It means a great deal, speaking out against Russia’s brutal aggression,” Biden said.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Rami Ayyub; Writing by Simon Lewis; Editing by Mark Porter)